Sifu Cristina Prudencio-Brunello

Youth Student’s Corner

We often hear that we need to practice something in order to get better at it – Kung Fu is no exception. But knowing how to practice is just as important. So, I thought I would share a strategy I find helpful when practicing – checklists!

Checklists are a great way to improve your Kung Fu, and you can make individual checklists for the different moves you learn (stances, kicks, hand strikes, blocks, etc.). When you continuously remind yourself of the details of each technique, they become ingrained in your mind. Plus, if you practice your Kung Fu with good form and technique, your body will turn it into muscle memory, which means your good Kung Fu will become automatic!

So, what should you put on these checklists? I like to ask myself what makes that stance, kick, or block strong, and then I can come up with a small list of the most important details of the technique. For example, here is a checklist my students and I created in the Novice class:

Horse Stance Checklist

  • Step out with left foot and double tiger claw, double backfist.
  • Legs double shoulder-width apart.
  • Knees bent.
  • Feet pointed straight forward.
  • Back straight.
  • Hands chambered (in good fists of course!).
  • Eyes forward.
  • Don’t fidget!
  • Only think about horse stance.

If you can check all these boxes, then your horse stance will be very strong. It might seem like a big list to keep in your head, but when you continuously remind yourself of these details, they will become habits. Eventually, you will be able to stop thinking so much about keeping your back straight, because your body will automatically do it. Pretty cool, right?

I will leave you all with a challenge: pick a technique you struggle with in Kung Fu and see if you can create a checklist of its most important details. Don’t be afraid to ask your instructors if they have suggestions on how to improve your technique (that’s what we are here for!). Then, practice your technique, and think about the checklist as you do. You can also start by focusing on just one detail, then adding more as they become easier.

A great technique that parents can use to help younger students practice. Happy practicing!